Published: Sept. 10, 2010

Inuit Throat singing from parts of North America, particularly Alaska and Greenland, is not only fascinating, but a culture that empowers women by giving them voice to speak. A similar concept is also applied in the workshop created by Beth Osnes, a faculty member of the Dance and Theatre at CU Boulder. This particular workshop is a vocal empowerment workshop which helps women especially targeted mothers. “It’s a workshop that uses the tools from the theater, to help women for social justice issues.” said Prof. Osnes. “So it’s really to say that women of any level in life economically, socially or educationally will be able to strengthen their own voice and start to use their voice to speak up on what they care about.”

The workshop requires women to do many different vocal exercises used in theater to develop strong and expressive voices. Osnes believes that during the course of this exercise, women experience a profound sense of power. It works by picking a topic that is important to you. Then the workshop encourages you to bring this topic in your faith community. “People come up with different things. Some of them are big and some of them are little.” said Prof. Osnes. “Sometimes it’s just the conscience saying ‘I’m just going to educate myself’.” She continued.

After identifying what you want to do in the workshop, you use theater to rehearse your chosen topic. During the course of this, people work together and identify an obstacle and soon overcome it. “So it is women helping each other to find a way to use their voices effectively.” She said.

With the help of students, and with the help of an ASSETT Development Award, Osnes hopes to create a DVD for the workshop. She has done this workshop live but thinks it’s a good option to capture it in a DVD. “It is interesting to have it in a video form because then it can be accessible to more people.” She said. This DVD will be available in the College library under iTunes University. It can be downloaded through the University server for free by everyone.

According to Prof. Osnes, beyond just students, this DVD can be useful to a lot of people working in the development work. “One of the things that I am really committed to is getting women’s voice represented in development work. This DVD may prove be an insightful incentive to people involved in development works.” She said.

What Prof. Osnes really hopes to accomplish in the future is get this DVD out and use it to train the trainers. She said, “This video is meant to be a tool for disseminating methodology. It’s easy for people to facilitate.”

--Written By: Manaslu Bista, CU’11, ASSETT Reporter